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Awards Season Blasts Off

AND THEY’RE OFF: It’s officially Awards season, with the Grammy nominations being announced tomorrow night, and this week’s Oscar race off and running after this morning’s Independent Spirit Award nominations and New York Film Critics Circle honors. Early contenders emerging from the indie noms were The Artist, The Descendants and Beginners, all up for Best Feature, with their directors, Michel Hazanavicius, Alexander Payne and Mike Mills, each getting nods as well. Moneyball/The Tree of Life’s Brad Pitt and The Iron Lady’s Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher were the big acting winners coming out of the N.Y. critics’ gathering, though insiders were even more delighted with the snarky Twitter play-by-play from iconoclast Armond White, who offered Adam Sandler as his Best Actor and Actress candidate, then delivered the following: “What can I say about The Artist that it can’t say for itself?” Nevertheless, the silent pic was named Best Picture, while Hazanavicius earned Best Director honors from the group.  Screenplay award went to Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin for Moneyball, while supporting actor and actress were Albert Brooks (Drive) and Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter, The Help, Tree of Life).  (11/29p)

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